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Counselor Commentary: The Power Of A Cause

(8/21/2014)

By now you’ve heard about the wild success of the Ice Bucket Challenge – a viral video juggernaut that’s raising awareness of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. People around the world have donated more than $15 million for ALS research, and many have been doused with cold water in the name of a good cause.

While the social media campaign is brilliant, the disease itself is indescribably awful – it paralyzes the body, while leaving the mind intact. People who watch loved ones die from ALS suffer great emotional and physical anguish themselves – it’s easy to feel helpless as the disease has no cure.

Far too many people involved in the ad specialty industry have witnessed the effects of ALS – ask around and you’ll be surprised at the stories you’ll hear. That’s why it’s so heartwarming to see so many industry companies, reps and CEOs accept the Ice Bucket Challenge. Among the most recent challenges was issued by Genumark’s (asi/204588) Mark Freed – a former Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award winner. Freed wants the entire industry to take on the Ice Bucket Challenge – we’ll certainly oblige at Counselor. By the way, you can click here to see Freed’s challenge and many others that have been issued throughout the promotional products world.

As the Ice Bucket Challenge soars in popularity, there are many great lessons to be learned. For one, there’s incredible power in working for a social cause. People follow their hearts more than their minds, which in turn makes cause marketing such a positive force. When your clients are able to support nonprofits as part of a promotional campaign or project, everyone benefits. While some would have you believe the world is all about backroom deals, getting ahead, and stomping out competitors, the reality is most people enjoy helping each other.

Marketers should take note, as well, that at least one study has shown that 89% of young Americans aged 13 to 25 would switch from Brand A to Brand B just because the latter is involved in a good cause. The data, released by firm Cone Communications in 2013, also points out that 88% of consumers want to hear how companies are supporting social and environmental issues. There is clearly a business case and a do-the-right-thing case for cause marketing.

A final thought: there will come a time – maybe a week or two from now – when the Ice Bucket Challenge spotlight dims. But there are other causes you and your business can get behind. The value of doing so will be far greater than you can imagine.



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